COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 24: Ray Polk #26 of the Colorado Buffaloes brings down Jordan Hall #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes after a big gain in the first half at Ohio Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Colorado 37-17. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Apologies, folks. I've been moving and work has been nuts for a while now, but I'm finally getting some time back to get these written up. I know news has been scarce for us (except that it sounds like Doug Rippy's recovery is going well, which is awesome news), so I'll try to keep these coming with some regularity.
Today we're going to look at the safety position.
- Ray Polk, Sr - He was still limited in the spring after surgery on his wrist, but all indications were that he was taking his position as senior in the group to heart and demonstrating leadership and the ability to line up the defense. With Richardson injured, he's probably the fastest player on the team, and if he can develop some of those DB instincts, he could be a real force at free safety. He was named to the preseason watch list for the Lott Award, and he possesses the physical abilities to end the year as a finalist, but he's going to need to take that final step in his development. And some help in the defensive backfield wouldn't hurt either.
Follow the jump because the Mayans said so!
- Terrel Smith, Jr - He was practicing behind Ray Polk at the free this spring, but also got looks as the Nickelback. And if Parker Orms continues to deal with injuries, he may get some chances as the strong safety spot. He's still got the size disadvantage, despite being one of the hardest hitters on the team, but it sounds like he's finally putting together the mental side of the game as well. He's been kind of boom-or-bust for us, but we could use his experience this year with this group of DBs.
- Paul Vigo, Jr - He is also practicing at the free, behind the two guys listed here above him. He seems like a bit of a safety/corner 'tweener, but he also has bounced around in between positions. If he can spend all season at safety, he might develop into someone who could help in 2013.
- Parker Orms, Jr - I finally get to move him back to safety!!! Hooray! I've been excited for him to be practicing at his more natural position for a while now. Of course, he sat out of most of the spring with yet another hamstring injury... but that's neither here nor there. Hopefully the switch will bring about some good karma for Orms, who is as instinctive a player as we have on the roster, and would probably help Polk out if he could start next to him, which is what the post-spring depth chart lists. That would only be good for us.
- Richard Yates, RFr - Walk-on.
- Will Harlos, (RFr) - Good news! Harlos was granted an extra year of eligibility, so he's a true freshman again this year. It sounds like he's one concussion away from ending his football career, which is a little scary, but he looked good at safety with the limited reps he got before his injury issues. He is currently listed as Orms' backup at the strong, and I think he could make a good one. He's got good size, speed and physicality, so hopefully he can remain healthy.
We signed a large class of DBs, though many of them project to cornerback. I could see John Walker getting his first look at safety. The Buffs have a number of very good athletes at the safety position, but most of them have dealt with some injury issues lately. Hopefully another season of Greg Brown coaching helps these kids develop. Ray Polk has off-the-charts potential, and most of them look like they could be really good. And there is still a good chance that both K.T. Tu'umalo and Jermane Clark could get some time here if they are buried on the depth chart at ILB and still retain their speed, but the coaching staff is trying to get faster everywhere, so we may see more of the cornerbacks practicing at safety over the summer to increase athleticism there,